I love immersing myself into the lives of well written characters and beautifully woven storylines. I always have. I particularly devour audiobooks in the studio when I paint and in this blog series I share more audiobooks that pass my criteria for painting to.
Listening to audiobooks when you paint is the perfect companion because listening to a story will activate your imagination and distract you from your ego which allows you to tap into your creative energies more easily. It’s like a magic trick.
I try to listen to the current audiobook only when I’m painting and with my daily painting practice you can imagine my Audible app gets a lot of play.
There are more benefits to listening to audiobooks while you’re creating beyond tricking your ego:
A carrot to create: A mesmerizing story will definitely encourage you to grab your brushes to find out what happens next. For me, after a full day in the studio, a great audiobook will often bring me back for another evening session. As a commission painter with a long waitlist, it’s important for me to keep a good pace. Each portrait takes upwards of 80 hours over a few weeks to paint.
Built-in timer: Sometimes I have to limit the time I paint to consider my physical health. Painting long hours puts a strain on your body, and that’s when the sleep timer on the app helps. I set it for 60 minutes and then I stop when the audiobook stops playing, even if the story has me spellbound.
Speaking of tapping into your own creativity, my 21-Day Painting Challenge helps you feel good and tune in to the whispers of inspiration and meditative joy in your daily life with a painting practice.
Pick up that brush, play that Audiobook, + plug into your creative flow
If there’s a theme to this new list of audiobooks to paint to, it’s that most of them take place during the Gilded Age (1870-1900), either set in New York or England and span from high society to the two women doctors struggling breaking down social barriers. There’s one exception and that’s the last book in this list, which is an interesting time travel fiction set in today’s England. The entry into the Gilded Age happened by chance as I chose a book read by one of my favorite narrators, Saskia Maarleveld, to accompany me while I painted.
You got to love a great book that holds your interest for 31 hours. This is a captivating story about two female doctors set in 1883 and old New York. I love how the author has done her historical research and created such appealing characters full of courage and love. The love story between Anna and Jack is heart tingling. The narrator is flawless in the way she brings this vivid story to life, a new favorite for sure. This was an experience I’ll remember.
The story continues where The Gilded Hour left off and 10 hours into listening I finally adapted to the author’s changing way of storytelling and the new narrator(!). Don’t get me wrong, this is a great book – a book of generations, crime novel, medical mystery, love story and the power of women – and worth the read/listen. I really enjoyed it and I look forward to the next book in the series. I just would have loved it even more if the narrator from book 1 had continued telling the story.
This is the story of Cora Cash, a fictional character inspired by the daughters of the American billionaires of the 19th century who made the cash deals for a British title. This is a delicious novel with rich characters and I often found myself back in the studio for more. The narrator does a splendid job bringing them to life. While this is the debut novel of the author, she’s also the creator and writer of the Masterpiece drama, Victoria.
It’s 1876 and the feud between Alva Vanderbilt and the Mrs. Astor is just getting started. Spanning three decades and based on true events (of outrageous spending and bad behavior), this story is all about the battle for control of NY society. It’s delightfully written with keen insight into the historical era. I can’t wait to read Park Avenue Summer soon.
This story is all about Alva Vanderbilt’s daughter, Consuelo Vanderbilt, whom Alva marries off to an English Duke to regain her status in society and gain back her control of NY society. Interestingly, in marrying the Duke Consuelo became the cousin of Winston Churchill which transitions nicely into my next recommendation.
This follows the life of the wealthy American who marries an aristocratic (and poor) Duke after only three days. She’s smart, modern and a bit of a round peg in a square England. But the story of Jennie and the mother of Winston Churchill is an intriguing one. Her brilliance shines through a life of controversy and tragedy and shapes much of her husband’s political success.
This was such a delightful surprise and listen. Nora finds herself with the possibility of changing her life for a new one. We follow her as she tests on another life that she would have lived if she’d made a different choice at a point in her life. Will she find a more fulfilling life, and what makes a fulfilling life at all? An enchanting journey that is brilliantly brought to life by narrator Cary Mulligan.
I did also finish A Sunlit Weapon by Jacqueline Winspear, and the 17th book in the Maisie Dobbs series mentioned in part 1. I love this series that follows heroine Maisie who solves mysteries with heart and mind. Orlagh Cassidy is a brilliant narrator and you’re in for a treat if you listen to this series while you paint.
Leave a comment below and tell me which one is your favorite audiobook to listen to while you create?
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